Michigan State got its 2013 fall practice underway Saturday and head coach Mark Dantonio gave initial impressions on what was a good first day of practice for the Spartans.
**Off the bat, Delton Williams was listed as a running back/linebacker on the roster, which Dantonio said is due to MSU needing to figure out if he will contribute at running back.
“I think we’ve gotta find out if he is going to play running back,” he said. “That’s the most immediate need. Then from there, you make an evaluation on special teams and then linebacker if he is not playing on that side. He is a football player, but we want to find out what he can do. He’s got a 20 number on and he looks a little like Le’Veon when he runs through there. Now, that’s in shorts. It’s a big statement to make. I’m just saying physically – his size – he looks a little like Le’Veon.”
**Kicker Michael Geiger worked with the ones during practice, part of the Spartans’ plan to put him in pressure situations in the kicker competition.
“We did it today,” Dantonio said. “I had him kick with the ones (Saturday). He did a nice job. Unless you are going to stick him up there and pressure him, you’re never going to know. So that’s as big a pressure as we can give him, with everyone standing there watching. He did a nice job.”
**When asked about returning players making strides, Dantonio pointed to offensive lineman Henry Conway, a fifth-year senior.
“Well, I thought Henry Conway is a guy that had a good spring,” he said. “I’ve heard he’s had a good summer, so we will see how he runs today to validate that. But he would be a guy, and really it’s the first day, so it’s hard to sit there and say that. I think our guys in in condition, especially our older players.”
**With a group of four quarterbacks in competition and seven running backs, the competition figures to need to be cut down soon. Dantonio said it won’t be immediate.
”No, this is the first day of practice so we'll allow them to compete,” Dantonio said. “Everything usually rises to the top, it becomes pretty clear as you move forward.”
As for competition’s, Dantonio said he is paying attention to all positions – not focused on one more than the others.
**On the quarterback’s note, Dantonio mentioned three of the four who did good things today.
”You watch the quarterbacks throw, I thought that Tyler O'Connor was sharp in the drills, (Andrew) Maxwell in the drills,” Dantonio said. “I thought Connor Cook had a good two minute series and took them down to score in two minute situation here on the first day of practice and they were crisp. We caught the ball pretty well, but you know, had some drops and things like that but it's the first day out. It's just hard to really assess. What you look for is quickness and guys that are able to continue to play at a fast rate in terms of condition.
He also said that they might make the quarterbacks live in a scrimmage, but did stress that the number one goal is “to make sure we come out of camp healthy.”
**Dantonio was asked about the status of Lawrence Thomas, but would not address it. In fact, his response was, “I’m not going to talk about injuries. You guys are out here, you can make those observations.”
When asked about other injuries, such as James Kittredge, Dantonio said, “You guys are coming out here all the time and you’ll see them when they’re there.”